Sunday, 31 January 2010

Frothers Zombies

Way back in March of 2009, FU-UK (Frothers Unite - United Kingdom) announced a competition to sculpt a zombie. Months later the winners were announced and at the beginning of November 2009 the winning entries went on sale. I ordered the whole lot immediately because I liked the look of the sculpts and I wanted the bonus figures. Over two months later, the figures finally arrived, proving beyond doubt that FU-UK could not organise a piss-up in a brewery. Their lack of communication and apologies to customers, who had ordered in good faith, was a first class lesson in how not to do customer service. This was the first time I had ever ordered from FU-UK and the experience has left me with both a loathing for and a mistrust of the company.
That said, I have nothing but praise for the figures or the sculptors. This fiasco had nothing to do with them and the sculptors certainly deserved better treatment and respect than what they received. I have not seen anyone else post pictures of the winning figures painted up, so I could be the first here. Let's take a closer look at the winning zombie sculpts.
In the two photos above the zombie at far left is clearly a hospital patient, who is a reminiscent of a similarly posed figure by Cold War Miniatures in their Horror Hospital set from The Dead Will Walk range. This chap is both taller and chunkier. He holds on to his blood drip bag with his right hand and in his left hand is the severed head of a surgeon. A nice, macabre touch is the inclusion of two rats, one sitting atop the pole holding the blood bag and the other lurking by the drain in the centre of the base. The base has been sculpted to represent a tiled floor. It was square originally but I've cut it slightly so that fits on a circular slottabase. The zombie has a line of stitches in his right arm and down his spine. A large chunk of flesh has bitten from his left knee, revealing the bone. He is an incredibly detailed figure, oozing character and personality, despite being a walking corpse!
The two figures in the centre of the group are zombie tanks or hulks, which will be recognisable to fans of certain computer games like Left4Dead and Resident Evil. The figure in the green combat pants came in three parts; his arms had to be glued in place. I added a small amount of modelling putty to hide the joins as there were small gaps when I glued them. I also added a large cut to his right shoulder. His only other wound is his right eye is dangling from its socket. The musculature on his arms and upper body is very impressive.
His companion is dressed only in a pair of Y-fronts, which might be amusing if he didn't look so fierce. You just know that when he swings those arms down he is going to smash something or someone to a pulp! His tongue seems too big and his mouth just too wide open but I mention that merely as an observation not a criticism. He has suffered a massive stomach wound, from which a couple of ribs are visible. These two zombie hulks are obviously specialist zombies. I'm keen to see how THW represent their rage zombies in the forthcoming ATZ supplement - The Lazarus Project. I'm sure these guys will fit in well for rage zombies.
The last figure in line appears to be much larger than the others even though only the top quarter of him is visible. I would guess that because the figures were sculpted by different people that scale was not a consistent factor. This chap is closer to 35mm scale than 28mm scale, which most of the others are. I'm still not sure if he is rising from a grave or trying to scramble free from a pile of rubble. Because I use rubble on nearly all of my bases I went with the second option. He has the look of a fat-cat businessman about him. His suit has been badly torn and ripped and his right shoulder is a bloody mess. I like the way that one eye is much bigger than the other, and his lolling tongue is something I always like to see. He is an unusual figure and, to be honest, is my least favourite figure out of the range. Nonetheless, I'll still find a use for him.
You'll know by now that I am always harping on about the need for more zombie kids. Well, this first figure in the two photos above really hits the spot. I think she is just superb! She so reminds me of the little girl zombie who attacks Peter the SWAT trooper in Romero's Dawn of the Dead after he empties a clip from his assault rifle at head height at a cupboard from which he'd heard moaning. Of course, head height for an adult meant the bullets passed harmlessly above the little girl! A great piece of zombie cinema! This little girl does not appear to be wounded but I have smeared her hands and mouth with blood and the top of her dress is soaked in gore. It just makes her look so scary!
Next up is another great female, this time a Japanese Cosplayer. I'll admit that I know very little about Cosplay and Googling it was quite a revelation! I've kept the colour scheme of this figure very simple - black and white. The sculpting of her is very delicate and reminds me of the work done by Kevin White for Hasslefree Miniatures. She looks rather cute from the front but from behind your eyes are drawn to her panties as her dress has been ripped to shreds and I'm sure I'm not the only male to think, "hmmm, nice arse!" Her right leg looks like it is about to give way, which isn't too surprising when you notice the large bite taken out of it.
The next zombie in line fills a niche that I really would like to see expanding - that of zombies feasting. We all know what happens if a zombie catches a victim - it'll feed on him/her. So why are there so few feeding zombies? This particular zombie has got himself half a leg to chew on and the way the sculptor has captured him in mid-bite is just perfect. The zed himself appears to be unharmed but note the position of his legs and you can tell instantly that he's a zombie and not a cannibalistic human. I definitely want to see more figures like him!
The final figure in line is a bonus figure that was only available if you bought the complete range. He is a zombified version of Colonel Marbles, who is the signature figure for Frothers. There is a version of the Colonel wielding a chainsaw whom I'll review in my next post along with the other zombie hunters that were sculpted as part of the competition. This figure is based on that chainsaw warrior. Obviously, he has lost the chainsaw but his clothing is virtually the same. His deerstalker hat has gone missing. Note the monocle hanging loose on his chest. His most obvious wound is that enormous hole in his stomach. The way his innards have been sculpted is just gross and as a confirmed gore-hound, an absolute joy to paint! What might not appear noticable is the wound to his left arm. It has been twisted through 180 degrees. Note his elbow is now facing to the front, which you can spot from his leather elbow patch! Another nice touch is the way the lower edges of his coat have been ripped away, revealing the stuffing inside. All in all, he is a great figure, and I was very pleased to get him.
There is no point in telling you how much these figures cost as the offer to buy them was a limited one, which closed at the beginning of this month. I was hoping to get them within a week of placing my order, Then after another week painting them I'd have reviewed them on my blog in mid-November, giving you readers plenty of time to order them yourselves. Sadly, I did not receive the figures until after the offer had closed. Now your best bet, if you want them, is to hope that someone on the likes of E-bay has a set to sell, but if they do, expect to pay over the odds. On the whole, I think the figures are exceptional. I hope the sculptors sell their master sculpts to another company. They really do need to be bought and appreciated by a wider audience.


  1. Hi there,
    First of all, great review of the figures. Much kudoss goes to the sculptors for their participation as every year.
    Secondly, you are absolutely right about the lack of communication during the long wait (though what little information that was available was communicated on the frothers forum and a related thread on TMP). It's also worth pointing out that FU-UK isn't a company though and the temporary sale of the contest figures is a joined effort of members and site owners alike to keep the site running. As such, a lack of efficiency is to be expected (though I agree things should have been handled better).
    Lastly, and I feel this is an important point worth noting, while no written apology was issued other than on the forum and on TMP, a "lead" apology was indeed issued, since everyone received some free (and exclusive) extra figures, being the good colonel in his various incarnations, which you can't have failed to notice, since the chainsaw one is mentioned in your review.
    Keep up the good work!

    (also a frother)

  2. Thank you for your comments, WK, and welcome. No question about it, FU-UK could and should have handled this matter better. I must admit that I very rarely visit the Frothers forum so for most of my wait I was left foundering in the dark wondering when or even if, my figures were going to arrive. Yes, your last point is a good one. I did indeed receive a couple of extra figures, both of Colonel Marbles, and for that I was grateful. I am aware that FU-UK is not a figure manufacturing company so some delays could be expected. I would have happily accepted such a long wait if only the company could have communicated their difficulties better instead of leaving everyone in the dark, including it would seem, White Knight, one of their committee members, who proclaimed the figures would be posted before Christmas. As we all know, that didn't happen. I hope lessons are learnt but I will be very wary of ever ordering from FU-UK again. It is hard to gain public trust but so easy to lose it.

  3. Sadly I recognize the outfit you painted the cosplay girl in. lol...It looks good, I think I'll do the same on mine. Nice paint jobs, Bryan.